Saturday, July 21, 2018

Please cut the crap on Vision Zero

Shoes representing people killed on North Carolina's roads

When I saw this hed in my inbox, I thought it was about San Francisco: We’re not going to make it to zero road deaths and serious accidents by 2024.

The story is about Washington D.C., not SF. But the fatuous slogan disguised as a safety policy is the same nationwide. 

Why can't we pursue traffic safety without pretending we're dumb and insulting everyone's intelligence?

The writer understands this:

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced in 2015 that DC was going to hit zero deaths and serious injuries by 2024. In nine years. We set a goal to hit zero deaths and serious injuries in half the time that Sweden had already been working on it. That isn't a real goal. It's like my son's goal of being a jedi. I don't know if it was just politics, or naïveté or over-optimism, but we failed right out of the gate. Nine years? It takes more than nine years to get most projects from an idea to shovels in the ground. The minute the goal came out of the Mayor's mouth, you could put a tag on its toe.

Turns out that even Sweden, where the Vision Zero bullshit began, has also had to backtrack:

Sweden was the first place to set a goal of zero road deaths. That was back in 1997, and at the time it set the goal of zero road deaths by 2020, or in 23 years, and to cut them in half by 2007. Years later they realized they weren't going to make those targets, and revised the goals to 50% by 2020 and to 0 deaths by 2050. In other words, Sweden — the inventors of Vision Zero — thinks hitting zero deaths is a half-century long project.

How are we doing?

This city graph is a lie, since in implies that "we are doing" really well this year. That bar hasn't moved in months. Based only on media stories that I have noticed, there have been at least 12 traffic deaths on city streets so far this year.

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